THE TRIP OF MANY FIRST’S
Saturday, October 12 – 2019
As we left the Marina in Aguadulce, the excitement and morale onboard were high. The three of us had no previous sailing experience and this was going to be a trip with lots of “first-timers”.
Sails had just come up and as the wind pushed us along, we knew that we were going to get the wind straight on the nose and a few choppy seas around Cabo de Gata.
We were on our way to Cartagena to sort out the paperwork for my wintering spot and to explore this beautiful old little town.
The wind picked up as expected around the cape and the sea got a bit choppy so we started the engine and dropped the sails.
Jørn suddenly wanted to donate his previous lunch to the fish and made himself our entertainment for a while.
There was a football match between Norway and Spain that night so we decided to go to the port in Garrucha in the evening.
Since my interest in football is less than watching paint dry, I wasn’t too bothered about the match, but quite keen on a few beers with the crew to celebrate our first leg of the trip.
We parked Ellidah in the port and got the paperwork sorted out.
Garrucha isn’t too much of an exciting town so we ended up calling it a night after a nice dinner and a few beers while watching the game. My top experience from here was finding this gem of a hat that I fell in love with.
A memory from the first trip and a companion that has grown fond of sitting on my head to everyone else’s grief. Apparently, I’m the only one thinking it isn’t horrendous for some reason. Anyways.
SAILING TOWARDS MY NEW TEMPORARY HOME
Sunday, October 13 – 2019
We got up early to get ourselves going. The forecast indicated little to no wind so we expected to motor the 47 NM to Cartagena. The sun was up and the temperature was warm and nice so the lack of wind didn’t bother us too much.
After lunchtime, we were lucky to get the company of a group of dolphins which was another first for all of us. We were ecstatic as they played around the bow putting up quite a show.
On top of that, Alex got a message from a friend that had spotted some pictures of us on Instagram, and apparently, he was backpacking around Spain without any plans.
It didn’t take us long to decide that the more, the merrier. We agreed to meet the day after in Cartagena and that we had plenty of space for another crew member on board.
We arrived at Yacht Port Cartagena in the afternoon and got all the paperwork sorted out. I now had a base for the rest of the winter! With Ellidah safely parked in the marina, it was time to find a tavern and see what Cartagena’s nightlife had to offer.
EXPLORING THE ANCIENT CITY OF CARTAGENA
After a rather moisty night, we woke up late the day after. A little bit heavy headed. But as always, the sun was up and the day was lovely. We were going to meet our latest crew member and wanted to go and do some exploring.
Cartagena is a very lively city with a super nice marble tiled walking street called Calle Mayor. Restaurants, bars, and cafes with outside tables are placed all over the street, and also inside the narrow alleyways in between.
You get the pure cozy Spanish vibe right away as it really isn’t very touristic. Maybe except the occasional cruise ship, but nothing like most other touristy places in Spain.
There is an old Roman Theatre in the city center that is pretty cool. It was built between 5 and 1 BC but wasn’t really re-discovered until 1988 as a cathedral was built on top of the seating area.
After it was discovered, archeologists dug it out and they completed the rebuilding of the theatre in 2003.
It is still in use, and the festival “Romans and Carthaginians” are probably the most famous. The theatre can actually seat 6000 people! How awesome is that?
Definitely a must see if you ever visit, which you definitely should. I might be a bit biased here since I spent a lot of time in Cartagena and made many really good memories from here, but it is really worth a visit.
We spent the day exploring, joking, drinking coffee, beer, eating tapa, and ended with a massive shared Seafood Paella for dinner. As we sat there, Lasse’s phone suddenly started going off with messages popping in.
A friend of his had also seen the awesome photos on Instagram and was a bit jealous about our journey. We had a discussion for about 3 minutes and decided to invite him to join us.
The more the merrier, right? Emil could jump on a flight the day after and join us in Cartagena the next evening.
CONTINUING UP THE SPANISH COAST
Wednesday, October 14 – 2019
With the 5 of us packed onboard, we set off from Cartagena with Torrevieja as our next destination. We had really hoped for some wind so we could sail most of the way, but it went full-on Med-style on us.
As I have come to learn, the Mediterranean is actually not a very easy place to sail. One moment can give you perfect 12 knots of wind from one direction, the next moment it dies off.
And then after waiting for it to come back, you decide to drop the sails to start the engine and continue on. Just as the sails are packed away, the wind is now back, but from a completely different direction and not at all the same wind speed.
It gets frustrating. If you have sailed in the Med, you know what I mean.
ARRIVING IN TORREVIEJA
We motored, sailed and motor sailed on to eventually arrive in Marina Salinas in Torrevieja. The city wasn’t too exciting and way too much of a tourist trap for my taste.
We did however enjoy our time there. Since we were 5 young happy sailors on an adventure, we had to try out the nightlife here as well.
On that part, Torrevieja didn’t disappoint. The bartenders would make jokes in Norwegian as they poured us drinks speaking about their Swedish neighbors before recommending us a bar run by – drumroll – Norwegians.
Okay, well we had to go and check it out. And then the next. And the next.
I have no idea what time we came back to the boat that night, but it sure as hell was a freaking good night! And the next one too.
FINALLY GETTING SOME WIND ON OUR WAY TO ALICANTE
Friday, October 18 – 2019
We didn’t set off too early this time as the trip from Torrevieja to Alicante is only 26 NM. But this time we were actually able to sail. Holy Neptune and glorious Notus!
If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time we set the whisker pole and sailed wing-on-wing. For the ones who haven’t heard this term, it means flying the foresail out to one side with the help of a pole from the mast, and the mainsail the other way.
We were all ecstatic about the comfortable sail and the beautiful sight of the sails up and the lack of engine noise.
The weather was beautiful as always and the sun was boiling. A line was made up and tied around the waist before my crew one by one jumped ship to get some well-deserved cool down in the fresh seawater.
As we were getting seasoned hobby Spaniards, some tapa was the only right thing to cook up for lunch. Scattered around the deck, we enjoyed the finest Spanish tapas we could find in the fridge while drinking ice cold beer in the sun.
The wind was filling the sails, pushing us along to the next destination of adventure while the dolphins were jumping around the bow. What a nice day!
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